Pastor James Ng'anga

Neno Evangelism founder Pastor James Ng’ang’a has revealed that prolonged prison life during his youthful years robbed him of school time.

The fifth born in a family of nine said he was in and out of jail countless times for a period spanning 20 years between 1972 and 1992 before he eventually saw the light.

 “I used to envy staying out of jail for even just two months, or at least, six months,” he said.

In an undated mini-documentary posted online, Ng’ang’a said his trouble with the law started soon after his father’s death in 1963 in Subukia.

The man of cloth said before embracing criminal life and becoming a prison monger, he was a good boy who worked hard for a living.

In 1965, he became a shamba boy (farm hand) on a white man’s flower farm where he used to earn Sh6.

“I used to give my mother Sh4 and remain with Sh2. It was a lot of money then. I would use it to buy cake and hawk to farmhands in coffee farms with my late elder brother,” he said.

“I was a very good boy, I used to milk cattle and take the milk to the market. My employer really liked me and I worked for him for seven years,” he said.  

Ng’ang’a said his first stint behind bars came in 1972 shortly after circumcision when he was jailed for six months in Nakuru Prison.

The pastor said it was during this period that other jailbirds properly indoctrinated him into the world of crime.

“That’s where my life changed. After that, I was imprisoned on and off from 1972 to 1992.”

Ng’ang’a said within those 20 years, he only celebrated Christmas out of jail twice. All the other time he was either in remand or serving a sentence.

He said his life took a turn for the better when he became born again in 1989 while still in prison. A month after that, he started preaching to fellow inmates.

Besides quitting crime, he quit smoking. Ng’ang’a said he had several cases hanging over his head but he was so determined to start over afresh so much that he decided to confess to all the crimes.

“The judge asked me why I pleaded guilty to the charges yet I had spent two years in remand. I said I’m born again. He handed me a two-and-a-half year concurrent jail term inclusive of time I had already spent in remand.”

Upon his release in 1992, he resorted to being a casual labour at Mombasa’s Mwembe Tayari market.

“Because I lost my education, I became a cart pusher at the market. I later got Sh500 which I used to buy mangoes and started hawking,” he said.

A year later, he got married and life started getting better. In 1994, he opened a retail shop in Bombolulu and bought a motorbike and a pedal cycle.

Ng’ang’a revealed that before he opened his own Ministry, he used to preach in other churches.

He said he got kicked out of one church after congregants started giving testimony they got healed after he prayed for them.

“From there, my pastor wrote me a letter saying I’m no longer a member of that church. I went to another church where I would serve on Sundays and become a street preacher on weekdays at Rail Way station,” he said.

Owing to his growing popularity, he was kicked out of the church again and relocated to Jomvu where he met another pastor and continued with his preaching.

In a previous interview with Mpasho in March 2022, Ng’ang’a said he has many children but cannot say with certainty the exact number.

“I don’t need to say how many they are because I’m not in court,” he said.